Welcome, Listeners of Issues, Etc.!

holy-family-frontIf you’ve found our website after hearing the commercial on Issues, Etc., we want to thank you for stopping by! Feel through to peruse the tabs above to learn more about our history and the books and greeting cards we offer. Several of our cards are pictured here; please visit our Christmas cards page for a closer look at all of the designs.

“The Holy Family” (left), an original painting by Lutheran artist Kelly Klages, is based on a beautiful 19th-century stained glass.adoration-800px

Our newest card, “The Adoration of the Shepherds” (right), is an 18th-century oil painting by German artist C.W.E. Dietrich. Originally painted in color, our black and white version allows the light emanating from the infant Christ to shine within the darkness of the stable.

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In “Magnificat” (left), artist Meghan Schultz paired the depiction of Mary and Jesus (from “The Virgin of the Lilies” by 19th-century artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau) with hand-lettered words from the Song of Mary. She also added hand-drawn fleur-de-lis in the corners as a nod to Bouguereau’s French heritage and the lilies in his original piece, symbolic of Mary. The text inside features a verse from the beloved hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”

illumination-front“Illumination” (left) is another original painting from Kelly Klages featuring the style of an illuminated manuscript with its decorated initial and elaborate border.

The artwork from “Nativity” (right) comes from theNativity cover final-600px Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, Germany. These Nazarene-style frescos were painted in the cathedral’s interior walls in the mid-1800s by Johann von Schraudolph at the behest of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The city of Speyer is significant in Reformation history; adherents of the Reformation were first called Protestants when they protested the Holy Roman Empire’s ban against Martin Luther and his teachings at an Imperial Diet in Speyer in 1529.

Thank you for visiting, and be sure to visit our Christmas cards page for a look at all of the cards and more details about the artwork.

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Seed-Grains of Prayer: Longings for a Quiet and Peaceable Life

seed-grains-grid“Dear Lord, how miserably unreasonable it is that while the kingdoms of this world flourish and are sustained by the prayers of Thy Church, yet, at the same time, these do oppress and recklessly tread under foot Thy poor Church by whose prayers, faithfully offered, they are helped. For it is the Church alone, O God, whom Thou hast commanded to exercise care and diligence to pray for all in authority, as St. Paul has counseled (1 Timothy 2); and Thou hast so commanded because man needs peace, order, discipline, and safety to spread Thy Word, and by the Word to gather the Church. Grant, therefore, beloved Father, that under our government we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty, as may be well pleasing to Thee. Amen.”

Wilhelm Loehe in Seed Grains of Prayer, #242

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The Word Remains: All Saints’ Day

“Therefore, take comfort: it is not all over for those who have fallen asleep in the Lord! They are merely sleeping. He who by His own death-sleep in the grave sanctified our graves as mere bedrooms stands even now at the deathbed, calling, ‘Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden!’ And when He lays them in the dust of death, He says, ‘I will give you rest!’ and ‘Here you will find rest.’ And if death is sleep, then each of the dead have the hope of resurrection.”

-an excerpt from The Word Remains: Selected Writings on the Church Year and the Christian Life by Wilhelm Löhe

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The Word Remains: Festival of the Reformation

front-cover400px-max“The Reformation, my friends, what was it? We know what the Church looked like before it, but what was it really? Judge whether this is true. I say, it was a time when the Lord went into His temple, braided a whip of cords, and cleansed His courts.

“Yes, the Reformation was a cleansing of the temple. Or is that not so? Where now do we have all that indulgence nonsense, masses for the dead, sacrifices of the mass, works-righteousness, and all the endless supply of worthless trinkets? That whole business was overthrown and swept out. The Word of the Lord drove into it like a punishing whip and put an end to the spiritual torment, the heavy yoke laid on by men and yet not humanly possible, but unbearable. The Word of the Lord burst in and overturned the chaos of self-interest, the marketplace of self- and works-righteousness. And the one who remained in the temple was the Lord with His apostles and disciples, with His sweet Gospel.”

-an excerpt from The Word Remains: Selected Writings on the Church Year and the Christian Life by Wilhelm Löhe (pp. 36-37)

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What resources are there to learn Gregorian chant?

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiMore from our interview with editor and translator Matthew Carver: “Basic instruction in Gregorian chant was not in view in this volume for a couple reasons: there are already great resources for it, and Liber Hymnorum was envisioned as a sort of supplement to other Lutheran chant resources already in use. That being said, anyone who knows how to read modern notation can use the music in the English section as a basis for learning all the Latin hymns and chants without knowledge of Gregorian chant, since they are (with few exceptions) largely the same, despite their different looks. So to keep down the size and price of the volume while simultaneously providing as many of these hymns and chants as possible, I’ve left instruction in Gregorian chant to others.

“First, if you have The Brotherhood Prayer Book and its accompanying CD, you already have a good introduction to Gregorian chant that will give you all you need to sing from the Latin section of Liber Hymnorum. (A Liber Hymnorum CD is also in the works!) There are several online resources, too, such as “An Idiot’s Guide to Square Notes” and the Corpus Christi Watershed site, which includes instruction and audio examples in How to Read and Sing Gregorian Chant. There is an active group on Facebook called “Gregorian Chant is for Everyone” as well as a group devoted to The Brotherhood Prayer Book (“Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood”), where questions concerning chant can be answered. In short, there is little to keep people from learning to sing from Gregorian notation—in fact, once you get the basics from one of these resources, you find it really is simpler, more flexible, and more forgiving than standard modern notation!

“As far as Latin pronunciation is concerned, we’ve normalized the old Reformation-period spelling so that it can be pronounced according to the classical method or the Roman or German ecclesiastical (church Latin) method, though for the sake of rhyme the latter is preferred. Some instructions in pronouncing churchly Latin can be found here, and there is a good comparative table in the Wikipedia article “Latin regional pronunciation.”  Students of Latin may find it best to use the accent familiar to them from their curriculum. In any case, when singing with others, it is wise to agree on the method of pronunciation beforehand!”

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Pr. Rob Paul reviews Liber Hymnorum

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiLiber Hymnorum is yet another example of Mr. Matthew Carver’s ability and propensity to deliver to our generation the great, lost treasures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s past. Mr. Carver and Emmanuel Press have done the churches and schools of the Church a great service by editing and publishing such a fine volume of hymns.

“The Liber consists of a significant introduction, two sections of hymns, and significant indices for hymn enthusiasts and scholars alike. The introduction details not only the contents and thought behind the volume, but also provides significant information about the hymns and hymn books of the early Lutheran Church. Each hymn comes from the Lutheran books of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Here readers are introduced to the names of Lucas Lossius and Matthäus Ludecus, among others. Liber Hymnorum promises to provide not only a wealth of resources for the scholar of Lutheran hymnody and Latin hymnody, but also a useful volume for the classical schools, choirs, teachers, and pastors of our Church.

“With regards to the hymnal itself, first, there are English hymns for use during the week, the Church Year, for feasts and festivals, and for general and seasonal use. Second, the same hymns are presented in their original Latin texts. The English portion of the hymnal provides the tunes of the hymns in modern music notation. This provides a level of accessibility to these hymns of the Church that has not existed before. Many hymns will be new; however, some popular favorites are represented in this volume (In Dulci Jubilo, “Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word,” “Creator of the Stars of Night,” and “Savior of the Nations Come,” among others). The Liber also exposes the Church to the wide breadth of hymns written for specific times and occasions that have been hidden from the Church’s use for so long.

“In the Latin portion, these hymns are presented in Gregorian notation. Since the same hymns are presented in modern music notation earlier in the hymnal, these tones are now more accessible for the musically inclined. One thing that is lacking is an explanation of neumes – that is, Gregorian notation – or at least references that direct novices towards more material if they are interested. The Brotherhood Prayer Book is referenced in the introduction, and it contains such material. But for use in schools, if pastors and teachers wish to educate on Gregorian notation, a supplement to this hymnal is necessary.

“Finally, the indices provide novices and scholars alike with resources concerning the tones used throughout the hymnal. The indices also contain comprehensive lists of the authors, composers, and sources contained in the book.

Liber Hymnorum looks to be a volume worthy of any classical Lutheran school, Latin student, music student, Lutheran pastor or musician, or even the avid layperson. What once was inaccessible to most is now available to many in a great and friendly format. The Liber is a useable hymnal with great potential. It is my hope that classical Lutheran schools, church youth and adult choirs, pastors and laity alike will take advantage of this resource in order to better understand and embrace the rich heritage Lutherans have in the Latin hymnody presented in Liber Hymnorum.”

-Rev. Robert W. Paul, Pastor and Headmaster, Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Roswell, NM; Board Member of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education (CCLE)

*In our next post, Matthew Carver will answer the question, “What resources are there to help learn Gregorian chant?” Like us on Facebook or sign up for email updates on the right sidebar.

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Pless endorses The Word Remains by Wilhelm Löhe

front-cover-600px“Wilhelm Loehe (1808-1872) was one of the church fathers of the 19th century, to use the description of Hermann Sasse. His pastoral wisdom combined with a zeal for Lutheran missions marked Loehe’s life and work. In this collection, the voice of Pastor Loehe speaks across the years into our own time and place. Insightful, brief commentaries on the days and seasons of the church year along with pithy sayings on the Christian life will provide readers with much to kindle their hearts and minds for meditation and prayer. This is a devotional classic which will continue to edify and enlighten both pastors and laity.”  -Prof John T. Pless

*Purchase The Word Remains along with Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church — and save 10% on both!

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Now Available! Liber Hymnorum

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiWe are pleased to announce that Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church is now available for purchase! On that page, you can also have a look at the inside, including the Table of Contents and a sample of hymns in English and Latin.

Throughout the past week we have been posting excerpts from our interview with editor and translator Matthew Carver. Now for the final installment: “This book is unique in several ways. For one, it is uncommon for any modern hymnal, and especially a Lutheran one, to be printed in Latin, which is unfortunate since music assists learning. With the increase in classical education today, this is an important aspect. Another rare aspect is that it presents the old forms of the ancient hymn melodies as they were known in early Reformation Germany. With many anglophone enthusiasts of ancient hymns being more familiar with the forms of the melodies from Rome and Sarum (England), the differences in these forms will be quite interesting. This book is also unique in its inclusion of later Latin hymns by several Reformation authors (translated, what is more, into the appropriate meter).”

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“Liber Hymnorum is yet another example of Mr. Matthew Carver’s ability and propensity to deliver to our generation the great, lost treasures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s past. Mr. Carver and Emmanuel Press have done the churches and schools of the Church a great service by editing and publishing such a fine volume of hymns.”
-Pr. Rob Paul, Headmaster, Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Roswell, NM

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A quick note about purchasing Liber Hymnorum

Today we received word from our printer that Liber Hymnorum is ready! We’re heading to Ohio tomorrow to pick up the books so that we can have them available at the “Lutheranism and the Classics” conference in Fort Wayne. This has really been down to the wire, but we are thrilled that we can debut Liber Hymnorum with author Matthew Carver in person. The book will be released on this website on Friday, September 30. If you want to know when the page is live, like us on Facebook or sign up for email updates on the right sidebar.

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How can Liber Hymnorum be used in a classical education or homeschool setting?

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpi“It is particularly with classical Latin teachers and homeschoolers in mind that the Latin (with normalized spelling) has been included, though it will also be of interest to scholars as well. The Church’s Latin, especially as found in its best hymnody in addition to the Latin psalter, is an important part of a well-rounded Latin course, since it gives students a sound example of a medieval Latin embraced by every age of the Latin-speaking church and filled with Christian content. The effort to sing a few stanzas every day will reward any student with improved familiarity with Latin poetry, and the melodies will serve as a mnemonic device, making the texts easier to learn by heart. Older students can also find in the Latin hymns models for their own composition practice. The Gregorian notation, too, with its modes and clefs, is an important part of music history. Nevertheless, the modern notation provided in the English section can be used to play and teach the Latin hymns.”
-From our interview with author, editor, and translator Matthew Carver (see previous posts for more Q & A)

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Liber Hymnorum will be a powerful resource in our house. As a liturgical Lutheran, I am thankful to have another devotional tool, especially one with simple, beautiful melodies and meaningful text. I am humbled and pleased that this hymnal can emphasize our continuity of faith over generations and centuries!…This will be a great resource for liturgical Lutherans, families, catechizers, homeschoolers, Latin students, and anyone interested in history, theology, Lutheranism, or the Reformation.”
-An excerpt from the forthcoming review by Deaconess Mary J. Moerbe, homeschooling mother of six, Lutheran author and speaker, who encourages Lutheran writing at maryjmoerbe.com

We hope to have Liber Hymnorum available for purchase on Friday, September 30! We are waiting for the final word from our printer before going live. To stay informed, like us on Facebook or sign up for (occasional) email updates on the right sidebar.

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